Thursday, November 19, 2009


Happy BTT! Today's question:

Posterity November 19, 2009

Today’s question was suggested by Barbara:

Do you think any current author is of the same caliber as Dickens, Austen, Bronte, or any of the classic authors? If so, who, and why do you think so? If not, why not? What books from this era might be read 100 years from now?

Without a shadow of a doubt, I would say that 100 years from now, Plum Sykes, Lauren Weisenberg, Dan Brown, and the lady who wrote the Twilight books will all be taught alongside Dickens and Shakespeare.

Just kidding.

Actually, I'm not sure what will endure 100 years from now. Since there are novels that are valued a great deal as a document of the times, any one of the above authors *could* conceiveably last that long. I shudder to think.

There are a lot of wonderful writers out there today. E. Annie Proulx and Alice Munro both come immediately to mind as ones who might have staying power. But in looking at the rest of my favorites, I don't really think most of them will last. VC Andrews is already starting to fade, as is James Herriott (sadly). Laurie Graham, Tawni O'Dell and Sandra Dallas all write enjoyable books, but they're not powerful enough to stick around long-term. Wally Lamb is a fad, I think. People won't get a lot of Jasper Fforde's jokes in 100 years. George Saunders critiques modern society, which may or may not be interesting once society has completely transformed again. Historical fiction never seems to endure, and that's Margaret George's game.

JK Rowling, on the other hand, might still be popular. Maybe Phillip Pullman, too. Good fantasy books are like heirloom china and silver for geeks. Geek parents read them to their geek babies, who will one day grow up to bond with a fellow geek or geekette over their love for Tolkien or Ursula LeGuin, and marry and have their own geek babies and perpetuate the cycle. Since none of the stuff in the books can happen, they can never become too dated.

But other than these, I can't really think of anybody. How about you?


Jessica said...

I so agree about your point that children's, fantasy, and sci fi classics are made in a different way than the rest. How funny! You almost got me in your first paragraph, too.

Bluestocking said...

I picked fantasy books too! Here is mine

pussreboots said...

Dan Brown is on my list. You can see why here.

Ted said...

I loved Herriott too! You really think JKRowling will stand the test of time? I enjoyed reading every one of those books, but I don't think anyone will be reading her even 60 years from now, let alone 100! I guess we'll see.

Rose City Reader said...

Proulx is an excellent choice. I should have included her on my list

kittens not kids said...

oooh, good question. Oddly, I get loads of people in the bookstore looking for James Herriott. And my informal grad seminar read FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC (and was horrified by it, scarred for life, i think) this fall.

this is a tough question. Even shakespeare got "dropped" for awhile before being rediscovered (he never really did go away, of course). And Dickens was pop fiction in his day. and some of the late 19th/early 20th century classics (Arnold Bennett, anyone?) are mostly unread today.

Stella Devine said...

The English curriculum at my school included Roald Dahl's autobiographies and Tim Winton's appallingly tedious and contrived stories of Australian childhoods where nothing actually happens, so I have a fairly contemporary view of what could be studied in the classrooms of the future.

Here are my top picks:
Louis de Bernieres - Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Mitch Albom - The Five People You Meet In Heaven